What the Congress’ Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme is about

Here is what the Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme is all about. Economist Prof Arun Kumar says, “This is a welcome move if political will actually exists to get this implemented on the ground”

What the Congress’ Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme is about

NH Web Desk

What is the scheme called?

It is called the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) as announced by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. It has been named by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Is it a targeted scheme?

This is not a universal scheme and only targeted at 20 per cent of the poorest families of India. About five crore families have been targeted.

How many people will benefit from this scheme?

At an average family size of five, 25 crore people can benefit from this scheme.

How much money will each family receive?

Each family shall receive ₹72,000 per annum or ₹6,000 per month, assuming they earn a similar amount themselves. If a family earns ₹10,000 per month, then the government will chip in with ₹2,000 per month. That is why this is a progressive income scheme. ₹12,000 per family per month is the benchmark amount.

Is this scheme conditional?

No, this is a direct cash transfer scheme and is not conditional.

How will the money reach the beneficiaries?

It will be transferred to the bank account of a member of the family.

How much will such a scheme cost the country?

The scheme will cost around ₹3,60,000 crore or about 1.8 per cent of the GDP.

How will NYAY benefit the country’s citizens?

On one hand, it will remonetise the rural and urban poor who have been the most affected by the disastrous Demonetisation exercise. Cash in hand will boost consumption, specially in rural areas, boosting growth, leading to creation of more jobs and extension of supply chain infrastructure and creation of new ones.

Is raising such an amount feasible, going by the country’s fiscal situation?

This is what economist Professor Arun Kumar had to say, “This is a welcome move if political will actually exists to get this implemented on the ground. This should have been done a long, long time back. The scheme outlay amounts to 1.8 per cent of the GDP which can be raised through wealth taxation, estate duty, gift taxation, cess on corporate profits and taxing wealthy individuals earning above ₹50 lakh a year. But again this needs strong political will on part of Rahul Gandhi as there will be pressure on him from the upper classes to dilute the scheme. In addition to this, I also feel there is a strong need for more investment in rural areas, in health and education and additional resources will be required for them over and above this minimum income guarantee scheme.”

Agricultural economist wrote on Twitter, “No body has ever questioned why India Inc. continues to get an economic stimulus package (a form of direct income support) of ₹1.86-lakh crore every year since 2009. This alone can provide a direct income support of ₹72,000 per year to more than double the number of poor workers.”

In an interview to National Herald some time back when this scheme was on the drawing board, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said, “If tax to GDP ratio can be raised by just two per cent, more money can be raised than is required for this scheme.”

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